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THE SUBJUGATION OF SENSE TESTIMONY

From the October 1906 issue of The Christian Science Journal


The argument is urged against Christian Science that it denies the testimony of the physical senses, and for this reason is not entitled to serious consideration by thinking people. Since it is conceded by "thinking people" that these same erring senses are the only channels through which evil can be cognized, and that they do not and cannot see God, or Spirit, which is the safer course to pursue, to accept or to question what they say? When these senses say that man is sick, which is the more rational course to pursue, to submit to their evidence, or to disbelieve it, and then do all within our power to prove that they are false witnesses? Were they God-given, would we have any right to try to change their verdict at any point by appealing either to God or to man for help? The very admission that mortals need help, is a declaration against sense testimony and indicates a desire to have this testimony reversed rather than acquiesced in. The poor mortal who these senses say is suffering with pain, is more than anxious to have it proven to him that "things are not what they seem."

That the matter physician is not working scientifically is evident when he admits the power and presence of disease and then proceeds to prove that it is non-existent—in other words, that sense testimony is changeable and deceptive. Whatever is done towards the alleviation of human misery is a conscious or unconscious attempt to discredit the verdict of the corporeal senses. With the student of Christian Science it is a conscious attempt, in that he understands the unreliability of sense evidence and knows that he cannot judge "according to the appearance," but must judge "righteous judgment" in order to find help in God. He knows that "the kingdom of God cometh not with observation;" in other words, that spiritual things cannot be materially discerned. He does not make the mistake of looking for material help, which would place him at the mercy of matter, but he looks intelligently to God for that higher spiritual help which alone can and does nullify the testimony of matter. He knows only too well that the senses antagonize the coming of Christ.—the reception of spiritual truth,—and that if he would know the will of God and be in conscious possession of His blessings, he must overrule the verdict of "the carnal mind." When all earthly remedies have failed, and he is enabled to realize freedom by crossing swords with sense testimony and appealing directly to the Great Physician, who is "of purer eyes than to behold evil," and cannot "look on iniquity," should he be criticised and condemned by thinking people? Should Christian people, those who profess to "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ," shun the very presence of one who has learned to rise above the evidence of the senses and thereby to find health and peace in God? Why not consider him an unsafe member of the community because he has learned to discredit the evidence of the senses when they tell him that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west? If there is a higher law which corrects this false testimony regarding the sun, may it not be true that the Christian Scientist has discovered a higher law which corrects the testimony of these same erring senses regarding "bodies terrestrial." The denial of sense testimony may mean to some people nothing more than a literal refusal to admit that a chair is a chair, or a horse is a horse, when these objects are visible to the eye; but it may safely be affirmed that no thinking person would be misled by any such nonsense. In Christian Science denial and subjugation are used as synonymous terms when applied to the physical senses.

Christians of all denominations deny daily the testimony of the senses. When tempted through these senses to steal or to do anything else that is known to be wrong, they enter vigorous protest against sense testimony and declare that they will not yield to its dictation. God with them is a sure protection against the commission of crime; but when Christian Science appears and declares that the evidence of disease should be and can be just as successfully resisted as the evidence of sin, some professing Christians lend their voice against what they choose to term the "absurd" teaching of Christian Science. These good people forget that the strongest opponent of the physical senses is the Christian religion. The Sermon on the Mount from beginning to end is an appeal to man's higher nature, and stands out in striking contrast with the demands of the physical senses. Could any Christian love his neighbor as himself if he were to believe or accept the testimony of the senses regarding this neighbor? Does not the command "judge not, that ye be not judged," compel a radical forsaking of physical affirmation? "I know it is so because I see it and hear it," does not evidence any very high order of intelligence. The individual who insists upon believing that the sun is rising because he sees it with his eyes, is the one who may be slow to accept the truth in Christian Science, but not always so slow to express his misconceptions of spiritual things.

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